When it becomes time to sell a collection

You build a collection up over the years, could even be decades. You’ve got baseballs, footballs, game-used jerseys, trophies, newspaper clippings, tickets and on and on. It’s the driving force behind why you work, what you enjoy doing in your free time and something you can share and discuss with just about anyone.

It has led to countless happy moments and has resulted in something valuable, both literally and intrinsically.

It’s your sports memorabilia collection, and it could be considered one of your greatest accomplishments.

And now it has to go.

Why you ask? Well, that’s what I wonder when collectors call about values or for possible sources to sell this or that. The comments range from, “I’ve just got to liquidate” to “My kids have no interest in this, I’m getting older, so I’ll enjoy what I can get for it now.” One collector said he sold all of his Topps cards from the 1950s through the 1980s to put his kid through college. Another said simply, “I can’t walk around my house any more.” (When I hear the latter, I always think of the folks who have storage units, container units and even second houses for their collections, but I understand that simply isn’t feasible for most people.)

Most of the people don’t seem all that anguished about it either, which I also find a little puzzling considering the time, money and passion put into amassing a collection. Perhaps they have come to grips about the situation before talking to a stranger, or perhaps they are truly at peace to have the items move on. I do think some folks waffle about the decision, especially after they talk about all of the items in their collection and how they accumulated some of them. Those folks end the conversations with, “I don’t know what I’m going to do, but thanks for the options” when the conversation started out with “I’ve got to sell some of this.”

I do know some folks are turned off by the hobby, which has seen many changes over the years, from online dealing, fraudulent activity, third-party grading and over production. Some of today’s prices have also been a turn off. But of those I’ve talked to, that reason is low on the list.

So once again I open the floor to readers: Have you sold your life-long collection? What were some of the reasons why? Any regrets? Did you start up again, perhaps even collecting something else?

One thought on “When it becomes time to sell a collection

  1. Mikey on said:

    I had to do this over 10 years ago due to some legal problems and believe me when I tell you, I didn’t want to HAVE to do it but I did. Unfortunately, my wife (now ex-wife) sold the collection from underneath me. She knew very little about what I owned and I firmly believe I (we) were taken to the woodshed. I’m almost positive that the BV on my collection of auto helmets & jerseys, auto balls, auto and rc’s, full sets etc. easily exceeded $150K and probably more. I had all key football rc’s from the 80’s on and many of the key rc’s in baseball from 80’s up till 98 or so. She had a couple "clowns" come in and offer her $5K for everything and she bit, never consulting me – ouch!! The other no-no she did was she had one guy downstairs and one upstairs in the bedroom looking through stuff and she just couldn’t stay with both of them. From their offer, I believe they were nothing short of crooks and there’s no telling what "walked away" without her knowing. I suppose we live and learn but that REALLY hurt!

    I have gotten back into collecting football stuff, with one of my centerpieces being my ’48 Leaf Sammy Baugh rc. I am taking things slowly these days and I enjoy the hobby as much as ever!